Usually, change comes slowly. This insight probably offers no surprise. Nonetheless, I find myself too often feeling overwhelmed by the creeping sensation that every day brings nothing but more hardship, an endless string of obstacles with no uniting thread in sight. The uniting threads are those which give a sweet shape to the daily tragedies, weaving them together into something of worth. I've discovered the trick is to keep going. These threads rise up naturally from what can feel like monotony. Another way to think of this is to imagine walking through a dark forest. There is nothing, nothing, nothing, and then, a door.
In the course of answering routine email selling TerraPans, I encounter a client who connects me with a world far larger than my own. In the process of sitting nervously waiting for my turn to read some poetry, I accept an invitation to make history with the Women's March on Washington. I visit my friend Haley in her new store and suddenly I'm added to her Facebook group discovering new opportunities for my voice to be heard after I post photos of the walls of my office and a snake on the ground.
These things have happened and are happening.
The most beautiful times are those with my children. In my autistic son, there's deep, prolonged silence followed by speech. Precious words stand together in sentence form, and he is doing things like telling knock knock jokes, wading for hours in a mountain stream and sneaking my phone away to snap selfies with a pretty older girl while I speak to her mom, thinking my boy is playing video games.
Meanwhile, my daughter is quiet and shy, sitting alone and judging herself until she isn't. I help her find gateways into people and places, starting with herself. This weekend, the gateway was the creek. The children gathered there slowly, seamlessly letting her in as she jumped from bank to bank, whispering to the water, humming music from Five Nights at Freddy's. With common ground established, the children left to explore together. They hiked up a mountainside and passed round a talking stick in the clearing up top, a clearing where I've sat before in ceremonies which opened up so many doors inside my mind.
The things I hope they will ask me, they do in their own time. The things I want them to see come up gradually in their dreams. Then, on the other side of that, there's always so much more for me to know of them. And of me. And of my work. And of love.
Like Haley said in a recent interview, “We will never arrive.”